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“ Lady, I would descend to kiss your hand,

But that 'tis gloved, and civet makes me sick.”—MASSINGER.


319. Why is the civet commonly called the civet cat ?"

Merely from some slight resemblance in the fur of the body, and the form of the tail ; and from their habit of catching mice. The cat is, in all other respects, inapplicable. They are great destroyers of eggs, pertin catching birds, and

of them occasionally pursue

their prey by coursing. They frequent the banks of streams, the woodlands, or open glades, preying upon the smaller reptiles and the eggs of the larger in the first of those places, on birds and small quadrupeds in the second, and on the smaller lizards in the third.





320. The perfume called civet is produced from an orifice under the anus in both sexes, secreted by peculiar glands. The persons who keep them are said to procure the civet by scraping the inside of their legs twice week with an iron spatula, getting about a drachm each time; but it is seldom sold pure, being mixed with suet or oil to make it more weighty. The males yield the most, especially when they are irritated. They inhabit India, the Philippine Isles, Guinea, Africa, and Madagascar.

321. Why is the leopard so called ?

The name is composed of two words, leo (lion), and pardus (panther), and has a fabulous application: the fable being that the leopard was a mule or hybrid between these two species, partaking of the fabled generosity of the one, and the savage disposition of the other.

322. What is the distinction between the panther and the leopard ?

The only differences between them are in the size and marking, and in the more active and playful disposition which seems to be connected with smallness of size in this genus of animals. It

“Some say a sea-maid spawned her."-SHAKSPERE.

is possible that species.

they are only varieties of the same original

323. Why is the ocelot so called ?

From the Latin ocellus, a small eye ; it refers to the animal being spotted with small marks, or eyes.

324. Why are seals classed among carnivorous quadrupeds ? " Because they are flesh eaters, possess carnivorous teeth, and in

their skeletons the four extremities that distinguish quadrupeds are represented in the fin-like members.

325. The principles pursued in the classification of animals may be thus familiarised :-Seals belong to the first great division of the animal kingdom, Vertebrata, because they possess a true back-bone formed of vertebræ (from verto, to turn). They belong to the class Mammalia (from mamma, the breast), because they have teats and suckle their young. They belong to the sub-order Carnivora (from caro, flesh, and voro, to eat), because they are flesh-eaters, and possess carnivorous teeth. They are of the family Phocidæ (from a Greek word meaning a sea-calf), because of their fancied resemblance to a calf, and of their marine habits; they are made the type of numerous animals that resemble them; and they are ranked with Quadrupeds (from quadra, four, and ped, foot), because in their skeletons the four lower extremities that distinguish quadrupeds are well defined.

The dog, as another example, belongs to the Vertebrated division, as the sea does; and for the same reasons, it belongs also to the class Mammalia, and the suborder Carnivora. But here the resemblance ceases, and the dog enters the order Digitigrades (from digita, a finger or toe, and gradiæ, to walk), because it walks principally on its toes; and to the genus Canis, the Latin name for a dog, on account of certain peculiarities of the teeth.

“ Proteus, thy song to heare, Seas list’ning stand, and windes to whistle fear; The lively dolphins dance, and bristly seales give eare."-FLETCHER.

326. Why are seals found in greatest numbers in estuaries and straits ?

Because the fishes upon which they feed are dispersed in the open sea, but congregate in greater numbers in the currents of narrow places.

327. In some districts seals are very numerous. In the Caspian Sea, for instance, and in the Isle of Juan Fernandez. “Here," says Captain Dampier, “are always thousands, I might say possibly millions of them, either sitting on the crags, or going and coming with the sea round the island, which is covered with them (as they lie at the top of the water playing and sunning themselves) for a mile or two from the shore. They produce in the autumn two young ones, which for some time are white and woolly, and are suckled for six or seven weeks, after which they take to the sea; and when the dams come out of the sea they bleat like sheep for their young, and though they pass through hundreds before they reach their own, will not permit any of them to suck.”

328. Why do Greenland seal-hunters place themselves by holes in the ice ?

Because the seals being obliged to breathe air make for themselves holes in the ice, that they may rise for this purpose. The hunter, therefore, knows when he sees a hole that seals are about, and that some of them must soon come up to breathe.

329. Another stratagem employed in the capture of scals is as follows:- In the Gulf of Bothnia, when spring is approaching, and the ice is forced from the shores by the rivers emptying themselves into the sea, the seals are often found upon the larger masses; and in order to obtain them, the hunters set off in a boat. Having taken the precaution to whiten the boat with lime, and put on white dresses to render themselves less suspected, they go in search of their prey, and continue rowing about from one block of ice to another, destroying many seals.

330. Why are the nostrils of seals surrounded with long bristly hairs ?

These hairs, or whiskers, are instruments of touch, and serve a similar purpose to the seal in its submarine excursions, as do those of lions, tigers, and cats, in forests and jungles. No doubt these instruments are exceedingly useful in exploring the crevices and irregular surfaces of icebergs, beneath the water, where fishes may sometimes take shelter and conceal themselves.

These seales be hardly killed, unlesse a man.dash out their braines. In their sleepe they seem to lowe or bleat, and there upon they be called sea-calves.-IIOLLAND.

331. In some of the species these hairs are jointed, and formed in a manner resembling the antennæ (feelers) of beetles. They have their roots in a sort of cylindrical capsule, of horny consistency at the bottom, and meet there with some small vessels connected with the muscles, and also with a fine membrane which lines the whole of the internal surface. These bulbous roots of the bristles, especially in the fine membrane with which they are lined, are closely connected with many ramifications of nerves.

332. Why are the nostrils of seals made to close habitually?

Because, as the amphibious habits of the seal require the nostrils to be sometimes open and at other times closed, an effort of the animal must be required to produce one or other of these ends. The natural state of the nostrils is to remain closed, and an effort is required to open them when the seal reaches the air.

The wisdom of this provision is evident : the animal hunts its prey beneath the water, and its nostrils being closed by their own exquisite machinery, the seal has no care concerning them while capturing its food. But when the capture is completed, and the animal has no more effort to make for that purpose, it returns to the air, and bestows an effort upon the necessity for breathing.

333. Why are the cyes of scals very fully and peculiarly developed ?

Because it is by sight principally that they pursue their prey. Their nostrils are necessarily closed when under water, soʻthat they probably have no sense of smell in that situation. Their ears are also small, and become contracted under water; the sense of sight is therefore their chief guide.

334. The eye of the seal is fitted for a double action, for seeing either in the water or the air. There is no eye which can be said to have, upon the whole, to perform these offices so equally. They have to use their eyes deep in the water, and when there is very little light, or indeed none, the water being sometimes frozen over, and a deep stratum of snow lying upon the ice. The eyes are placed very near to each other, thus indicating that they follow their prey from a forward view. The schlerotic coat is composed of a thick, hard, and firm membrane, by which strength is given to the eye under the pressure of water ; and there is a provision for adjusting the focus of sight to the dissimilar conditions of seeing in air and in fluid. While, to modify the change, the cornea of the eye is flat, there being less difference of light from a flat cornea than from a convex one of the same surface.

“ With snow, frost, hail, and sleet, and found stern winter strong,

With mighty isles of ice, and monsters huge and strong."-DRAYTOX.

335. Why has the walrus large tusks descending from its

upper jaw ?

These tusks consist of an enlargement of the canine teeth, which in the carnivorous tribes are chiefly employed to capture and kill the prey upon which they subsist.

They are thus enlarged in the walrus to enable the animal to mow down, or to throw aside, the great fields of sea-weeds among which it finds crustaceous and molluscous animals, such as lobsters, crabs, shell-fish, &c., upon which it feeds.

They are also useful to enable the animal, the body of which is cumbrous and heavy, to clamber over the blocks of ice, among which it lives. This it accomplishes by fixing its tusks in the ice, using them as a lever to assist its movements. They enable the animal to raise itself out of the water, by holding on upon the rock or iceberg, just as the parrot steadies himself by its bill. The tusks are also used as weapons of defence.

ORDER IV.-MARSUPIALIA. 336. Why are kanguroos, opossums, &c., included in the order Marsupialia?

Because they are distinguished by a pouch-like appendage on the under-part of the females, which pouch is supported by two peculiar bones called Marsupial — from the Latin word Marsupium, meaning a purse or pouch.


337. Why are these animals provided with pouches ?

Because their young are born in a very helpless state. They are far more minute and formless than the young of any other of

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